What Happens During a Dermabrasion Treatment?

Exfoliation is one of the key components of good skincare. If your regular routine doesn’t already incorporate exfoliation techniques, then you can likely benefit from a treatment like dermabrasion. This is an advanced exfoliation treatment that removes the upper layers of the skin to unveil smoother, more even-toned skin. Learn more about this exfoliation treatment and its benefits before you schedule an appointment at Eric P. Bachelor in Pleasanton, CA.

What Happens During a Dermabrasion Treatment?

You can think of dermabrasion as “sanding” the skin to remove dead skin cells, blemishes, and uneven skin tone. The overall goal of this treatment is to smooth the appearance and texture of the skin. Although this treatment is usually used for cosmetic purposes, many people use this treatment to address hyperpigmentation, acne scars, surgery scars, melasma, rough skin, precancerous patches, and much more.

Overall, the procedure for this treatment is simple and can be completed at an outpatient appointment. This treatment is performed using a specialized tool that scrapes away the surface layers of the skin to improve the appearance of sun damage, wrinkles, scarring, and other superficial skin concerns. By unveiling new skin, you can improve the health and appearance of your skin.


Although this is an aesthetic treatment, you will still need to attend a consultation appointment before you can receive this treatment. A consultation will allow your dermatologist to examine your skin and assess how ideal this treatment is for your aesthetic concerns. This treatment will remove several of the upper dermis layers, so it’s more intensive than other exfoliation treatments; this is another reason why a skin expert must verify your skin type and skin concerns are eligible for this treatment.


This treatment is usually performed after a topical numbing cream has been applied to your skin. After your skin is prepared for your treatment, the special dermabrasion device will be moved over your skin. Typically, this device is motorized with an abrasive tip or brush that sands away the upper layers of the skin. Most of the time, this treatment can take about an hour to complete for the whole face, or less if you are treating a localized area of the body.

After your treatment is complete, your skin expert will likely apply a moisturizing spray or moist dressing to the treated area to help protect your skin. Dermabrasion is unlike other aesthetic treatments for exfoliation; if there was a direct comparison, the process and recovery time are more closely aligned with a medium or deep chemical peel.


Before your treatment, you will need to take certain steps to prepare for your treatment. It’s important to prepare correctly for your treatment, as any damage to your skin, active skin concerns like acne or eczema, or other issues may delay your treatment. We will give you a list of specific preparation instructions to follow, but some of your directions will include:

Avoid Sunlight

It takes several days or weeks for your skin to respond to UV rays from sunlight and it takes several more weeks before melanin production levels off. Because this treatment removes the first several layers of your skin, it may create pigmentation concerns if you have spent significant time outside in the sunlight, especially if you have not applied sunscreen.

Be sure to avoid all unprotected sunlight exposure on any area that you wish to treat for at least two weeks before your appointment. This will ensure that your results develop flawlessly. Other activities to avoid include self-tanning creams, sprays, and treatment, as well as tanning beds.

Discontinue Certain Medications

You may need to temporarily discontinue certain medications. During your consultation appointment, you and your provider will go over the medications and supplements you are currently taking to determine whether or not you need to discontinue medications to prepare for your treatment. Some medications may have side effects like hyperpigmentation, such as some blood-thinning medications and supplements. After your treatment, you will be able to continue these medications or supplements.

Avoid Tobacco

You will also need to avoid tobacco consumption, as smoking can interfere with your body’s healing process. It’s best to avoid smoking for at least two weeks before your treatment so your immune system is in a healthier condition. We may also advise you to avoid alcohol consumption about 24 hours before your treatment, as alcohol can thin the blood and make your skin more prone to irritation.


Because this treatment is essentially deep exfoliation, it’s important to understand that your recovery time may be more involved and take more time than your average aesthetic treatment. There are several things you will need to do during your recovery period, which may last two or more weeks. You will need to arrange for transportation, as you may not feel comfortable driving after your treatment.

After your treatment, you will be scheduled for several follow-up appointments so your provider can check up on the progress of your healing. You will also likely have a few prescriptions to fill, such as an antibiotic and a retinoid ointment to boost cellular turnover and rejuvenation. Some of your post-treatment instructions to follow during your recovery period include:


You will need to cleanse your skin two or three times a day to keep your skin clean, avoid infection, and promote healing. Ideally, you should use a gentle cleanser that will not dry your skin out and one that does not have many ingredients. Using a cleanser with Vitamin A may be beneficial for your healing process. Cleansing should be done with warm water and without any exfoliating scrubs or rags.

Dressing and Ointment

After cleansing your skin, you will also need to apply a dressing and ointment. The goal of this instruction is to keep your skin moist to promote faster healing and better results. You may use over-the-counter ointment or ointment prescribed to you. Keeping your skin moist will ensure your new skin cells remain healthy and unblemished.

Avoid Sunlight

Finally, you will need to continue avoiding sun exposure, especially now that your skin is healing. Sunlight on your new skin cells can cause deeper sun damage than the sun damage you are trying to correct with this treatment. Avoiding sunlight will also help you avoid hyperpigmentation and skin irritation. Until your skin is healed enough to endure sunscreen, you will need to stay inside, wear wide-brimmed hats, and moderate your activities.

Are Your Results Permanent?

Similar to a deep chemical peel, the results of this treatment can last for several years, or in some cases even be permanent. For example, this treatment can permanently remove tattoos, certain scars, and some melasma. That said, the longevity of your results will depend on what you are trying to treat. For anti-aging concerns, the natural aging process will eventually catch up to your skin.

The best way to enjoy long-lasting results is to avoid sun exposure and adopt good skincare habits. The better you take care of your skin, the better your results will be. We can give you advice on good skin care habits to adopt to ensure you have good, long-lasting results.

Who Are Good Candidates?

For this treatment, candidates need to meet certain medical and health requirements. Typically, this treatment is only recommended for patients who have specific skin concerns, such as melasma that is not responsive to other treatments in the past. You are not eligible for this treatment if you have rosacea, a blood disorder, immune system disorders, skin disorders, burn scars, very dark skin, herpes, or keloid skin conditions. Pregnant women are also not candidates.

This treatment is ideal for those who want to increase collagen production to rejuvenate the appearance of their skin, as well as those who want to reduce the appearance of stretch marks, deep acne scars, and other types of scars. This treatment is ideal for those who have fair to light skin tones.

Resurface and Restore Your Skin

If you’ve heard about microdermabrasion, then you may already be somewhat familiar with this treatment. However, dermabrasion is a deeper form of exfoliation that is generally reserved for moderate to severe skin concerns. This treatment has a moderate recovery time and several aftercare instructions that should be followed so your results develop as desired. If you believe this treatment may be a good fit for your aesthetic goals, please contact Eric P. Bachelor in Pleasanton, CA to schedule your consultation today.

  • Share: